Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dr. Gabor Maté

Since the late 1970's Dr. Gabor Maté has worked a staff physician at a clinic in Vancouver British Columbia's Eastside, treating the chemically addicted residents of one of Canada’s poorest urban areas. Maté's detox program Insite was designed to be accessible to injection drug users who are not well connected to health care services – people with mental illness; people with a history of trauma; people who are homeless, live in shelters or live in substandard housing; men and women of Aboriginal descent and people who have tried unsuccessfully in the past to beat their drug addiction. Insite is widely known as a safe place where people can go to inject drugs and connect to health care services.

For years, Maté has loudly and publicly called for a new drug policy paradigm that is grounded in both science and compassion. His stance has gained him a fair number of enemies in Canadian politics, but his program has been unarguably successful, leading to the creation of similar programs in other Canadian cities.

Dr. Maté recently published In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, a memoir of his experiences working with addicts. The book is a Canadian bestseller, earning him an invitation to speak to the Canadian Senate, and the undying enmity of the current conservative government in Canada who have launched a legal battle to close the center.

The current issue of Real Change News features an interview with Maté. On Thursday Jan. 14, Dr. Maté will speak at Seattle’s Town Hall. The talk begins at 7:30pm Tickets are just $5 and will be available at the door.

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